Juniper Networks’ Mist Systems Forges Forward with AI-Infused Offers

Mist Systems brings its AI heritage to new products and services.

Lynn Haber

June 25, 2019

4 Min Read
AI solutions
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As Mist Systems and Juniper Networks partners wait it out until a unified partner program is in place – reportedly within the year – Mist on Tuesday introduced a cloud-managed 802.11 (Wi-Fi 6) access point (AP), Mist Edge for distributed campus environments, and AI-driven support services.

With the rollout of new products and services, Mist continues to deliver innovation in wireless, with the long-term vision of selling an end-to-end AI-driven platform across the Mist-Juniper portfolio.


Mist Systems’ Jeff Aaron

“Our goal is to leverage AI to improve IT and for Juniper and Mist, and partners — it’s a better together story,” Jeff Aaron, head of marketing at Mist, told Channel Futures.

In April, Juniper Networks acquired Mist for $405 million.

The new Mist AP43, a cloud-managed 802.11ax AP with integrated AI-driven automation and insight, is the latest addition to the vendor’s portfolio of access points. The AP43, coupled with Mist AI-driven cloud, simplifies 802.11ax operations through automation and improves value with proactive resources and client management.

Some product features include: intelligent load balancing between radios/bands; service levels that monitor and enforce orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) subcarrier assignments; Basic Service Set (BSS) coloring assignments for high-density Wi-Fi environments; and sticky client prevention using AI-driven algorithms.

“Most vendors are using similar chip sets for Wi-Fi 6, so in terms of the hardware, performance, capacity, there’s not a whole lot of difference. But our access points combine Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and IoT. Bluetooth is used for location, IoT is used for things like turning on an HVAC system or a door lock or a security camera, depending on who is in the room and what’s going on.”

By taking the 802.11ax standard and adding functionality, it allows partners to sell more services in addition to traditional Wi-Fi services, such as asset location or engagement with a client’s customers when they come on site, such as at a hospital or retail store, for example.

“We’re also bringing our AI heritage to the 802.11ax world as well,” said Aaron, referring to the way the AP assigns bandwidth, usage priorities, and, more broadly, taking the user experience into account.

The new Mist Edge offers different deployment options for wireless. It extends Juniper’s microservices architecture on premises to bring the agility of a distributed software architecture to campus environments that require network functions to be delivered locally for high-bandwidth, low-latency applications.

“This product is particularly useful for companies [that] aren’t quite ready to go 100% to the cloud,” said Aaron. “They still want a piece of hardware on-premises to do things like tunnel termination and policy configuration, and Mist Edge helps with that.”

Think about customers that want to be able to do split-tunneling for guest access and corporate traffic; seamless roaming for large campus networks through on-premises tunnel termination of traffic to/from access points; that want to extend virtual LANs (VLANs) to distributed branches and telecommuters to replace remote virtual private network (VPN) technology; or dynamic traffic segmentation for IoT devices.

“For some customers this is a gateway for getting the cloud or they may never be 100% on the cloud,” said Aaron. “This allows partners to go into more traditional customer environments that they couldn’t otherwise sell to before.”

Mist Edge is available as a standalone appliance with multiple form factors, supporting various ranges of APs. Virtual machine and third-party hosted instances of Mist Edge will be available soon.

Finally, Mist announced that it will provide AI-driven support for partners and customers.

The company is leveraging AI to disrupt the traditional enterprise support model with …

… proactive notifications, automation, AI-driven insight and streamlined help-desk processes.

Here are some support capabilities: Dynamic Packet Capture (dPCAP), which automatically collects information when detecting an anomoly, minimizing onsite visits for troubleshooting; an AI toolbox that helps identify the root cause of problems (across wireless, wired and device domains; SLEs) for key wired/wireless criteria can be set, monitored and enforced by customers and partners and automated workflows can quickly address issues; and, the Marvis Virtual Network Assistant (VNA) provides trending insight, recommendations on how to fix problems and other integrated help-desk functions using natural language queries and AI-driven intelligence.

“We’re changing the game by using our AI so, if our partners want it, if we detect a problem, we’ll automatically notify them,” said Aaron. “So, we’ve eliminated having to jump through Layer I and Layer 2 support. Our goal is that we want to call you before you have to call us. We’re moving to a modern world based on AI.”

System intelligence and machine learning continuously improve the system. The goal — an automated self-driving environment.

All products are available immediately.

Mist and Juniper are in the process of merging their two separate partner programs. Until that work is complete, the vendor offers one-click automation for Juniper partners in good standing. Partners can click a button and be added to the Mist partner program, according to Aaron.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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